Last month during Dussera holidays I got an opportunity to visit Mauritius, known as The Jewel of the Indian Ocean. Though initially we were reluctant but after thorough search on the internet we made up our mind to visit the place and rejuvenate ourselves on the dazzling beaches of Mauritius.
Our plane took off early morning and landed on Sir Seewoosagur Ramaloogam airport after remaining approximately remaining 7 and ½ hours in the sky. As I gazed outside I was amazed by the loveliness of that small island.
It was an hour drive from there to our Resort, which was situated on the South coast of island. While driving from the airport, I couldn’t take away my eyes from the well maintained highways and country roads which were ornamented by extensively cultivated sugarcane crop, on both sides. The driver on the entire way spoke in broken Hindi and delighted us with the latest Hindi songs and blushed when admitted that his favourite heroine is Katrina Kaif. He informed us that the majority of Mauritians are Hindu and the natives here speak Creole (mix of French & African), French, English and Hindi.
Immersed in the serene drive we suddenly arrived at the grand entrance of our resort. The open air resort lobby with gentle tropical breeze, swaying palms, well maintained swimming pool and sparkling sand of sea beach were all ready to embrace its visitors. Rooms were well decorated and spacious. It was a perfect setting to spend few days away from daily grind, with my loved ones.
We started our sight seeing trip with a visit to Pamplemousse, a botanical garden. It was opened as a private garden by the French governor of Mauritius nearly 300 years ago. Today it’s a home for the most exotic trees and plants like Royal palm, the Bamboo palms and the Talipot palms which bloom after every forty years. Among other species the most striking were Amazonian water lilies standing erect with their huge thaali (Indian dinner plates with raised edges) like leaves on the surface of water. It would certainly be remiss if I do not write about giant rock size tortoises.
From there we proceeded to Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. It is the largest and the busiest city of the country and main port, which borders the Indian Ocean. It faces heavy traffic congestion as there is only one motorway which leads in and out of the city. The main attraction was the Cauden Waterfront, area with its modern shopping arcades. Crossways the mall there was the roadside market selling various things ranging from swim wears and scarves to sun glasses, mobile accessories to ice creams.
The next day was planned for activities we had never dreamt of before, first an underwater Sea Walk and the second a trip to 30 m deep bed of the ocean in a real submarine! Sea walk was a unique, but safe and fascinating underwater walk on the ocean bed (about 3-4 meter depth). It was an opportunity to witness marine life in their natural habitat and be one of them. This underwater Sea walk does not require any knowledge of swimming or diving. But, we were little uncomfortable with those heavy see through but sound proof helmets and the heavy belts with lead weights which were fastened around our waist.
The Submarine ride was a great way to discover the beautiful colorful marine life without getting wet. As the vessel descended, colors of the water changed. Through the big glass windows on its sides we could see bare sand bed of ocean. Various types of fishes were moving here and there as if playing hide and seek around the coral reefs. Our Sub captain steered the vessel near a shipwreck site called Star Hope.
One day we reserved for the North coast of Mauritius, i.e. Grand Bay. It is one of most popular places in Mauritius and an ideal place for water sports. Here we enjoyed parasailing and tube riding which was pulled by a speed boat. Parasailing offered us a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the turquoise ocean. Other then Grand Bay, one can choose to experience water sports in any of the following locations:
- Flic en Flac (Mauritius South west)
- Trou Déau Douce (Mauritius Central East coast)
- Blue Bay (Mauritius South East)
It is advisable to book in advance as on the spot booking is quite expensive. This place is also a popular picnic spot among natives. We were there on 5th October and it was a holiday for teachers and kids due to Teachers Day. There I got a chance to talk to a Mauritian family who expressed its desire to visit India and yearned to see Taj Mahal.
Our visit would have never been completed without sighting seven coloured earth called Chamarel. We were surprised by different bands of colours under the sunlight. Te earth is composed of mineral rich volcanic ash. My son quickly bought a souvenir test tube containing seven coloured ash for remembrance. Before en-route to Chamarel we saw an impressive water fall.
Concluding part of our trip was a visit to Ganga Talao; a place revered by Hindus. It is also known as Grand Bassin. The place is famous for a lake which is around one thousand feet above the sea level. A huge Shiv idol is the main attraction of this place. One can easily find there people of Indian origin.